Mirage double debut made at Toulouse

Mirage F1CT 261 being assembled in the Ailes Anciennes hangar at Toulouse on 12 November.

Over the weekend of 17-18 November, Ailes Anciennes at Toulouse presented its latest acquisitions, bomber and fighter variants of the Dassault Mirage line, to the public for the first time. Assembly of Mirage F1CT serial 261 had been completed just a couple of days earlier, the fighter having arrived at the museum during October. Mirage IVP serial 26 had been moved from storage at Châteaudun, south-west of Paris, by a team of Ailes Anciennes volunteers in July. With two examples of the Mirage III already on display, the only Armée de l’Air Mirage now not represented at Toulouse is the Mirage 2000.

The Ailes Anciennes Mirage IV made its maiden flight on 7 May 1965 and served with Escadron de Bombardement 1/91 ‘Gascogne’ and later EB 2/91 ‘Bretagne’. Upgraded to Mirage IVP standard in 1984-85, it was able to carry the ASMP air-launched nuclear missile. It was retired in 1996.

Mirage F1 261 first flew in June 1981, originally as an F1C-200 variant. It later became one of 55 airframes which were updated to F1CT standard, this being a ground attack version with enhanced radar and the capability to deliver a variety of weapons, including rockets and laserguided bombs. The aircraft served with Escadron de Chasse 2/30 ‘Normandie- Niemen’ and was deployed to Chad and Kuwait. Retired in July 2008, it too went into storage at Châteaudun and is in excellent condition.

Ailes Anciennes now hopes to increase its available hangar space in order to bring a bigger part of its collection of primarily post-war French types under cover.